He might not be the undisputed top prospect in the state of Texas, but he’s without question the consensus No.1 and it has a lot to do with a tool bag that has almost every tool needed to build a top-level college player and potential NFL prospect. At 6-5, 285 pounds, Allen blends together an awesome balance of size, power and overall athleticism that would seem to project towards early playing time at the next level. Little does a tremendous job generating power from his hips and legs in the running game, which allows him to be one of the best power-strikers at the high school level you’re going to see. Typically, when he gets his hands on an opposing lineman, it’s over. Also, he’s more than a one-trick pony, as his natural feel and kick in pass protection allow him to excel on both fronts. If there’s one element of Little game that’s not quite elite, it might be his feet and overall suddenness, elements that are both very good, but not so good that they rank in the elite. Still, that’s nitpicking to a degree because Little is a guy with some 10.0s on his scouting scorecard and focusing on a 9.0 mark is missing the bigger point. Assuming he stays motivated and avoids injuries, there’s every reason to think that this kid has a chance to be one of the best linemen in the nation in a few years and a definite NFL prospect.
As is the case with Eric Monroe, you’re talking about a player with a pretty elite-level set of tools when talking about Anderson. In addition to the excellent frame and size that he brings to the position, Anderson has sideline to sideline range, stout coverage skills and elite of the elite playmaking skills when the ball comes his way. Although he’s comfortable coming downhill in run support and has proven to be a sure tackler, Anderson is at his best when allowed to roam the back end of the defense because of his playmaking skills in pass defense. This is a guy that plays the game as if he were shot out of a cannon and it’s possible that his best days as a football player are still in front of him. He’s just a spectacular player and prospect.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a linebacker prospect in the state of Texas that is more ready to play at the high collegiate level than Fowler, who at 6-3, 235 pounds, possesses both the kind of natural physicality and athletic explosiveness that makes instant contributions possible. There’s not a lot of nuance to Fowler’s game at the high school level, as his coaches sort of give him the type of freedom that allows his sideline-to-sideline abilities to thrive in constant attack mode. With elite an elite closing burst, Fowler is a big-play specialist in the making and there’s no question that his pass rush skills could make him a guy that plays with his hand on the ground at times in college. One of the thing I love about Fowler is that he doesn’t finish plays with a lot of glancing shots as much as he hits everything flush and stops it in its tracks. While his physical gifts give him a chance to play early in his career, his seek and destroy style of play will likely mean that it takes some time to master the nuances of his position, but that’s another way of saying that the kid has a tremendous upside once he’s molded into the player he can be.
Explosive. Relentless. Dynamic. The 6-2, 260-pound Oliver might not come in a completely idea physical package, but there’s no getting around the fact that there’s not a more impactful defensive recruit in the entire state of Texas when the lights come on. Described as a “ball of motor” by Alex Dunlap, Oliver’s ability to get off the ball with extreme suddenness makes him nearly impossible to block at the high school level because opposing offensive linemen simply can’t get their hands or good pad position on a player that is constantly attacking and applying upfield pressure. As an athlete, Oliver ranks as one of the more gifted prospects you’ll find along the defensive line because of his ability to make plays in all capacities, up-and-down the line of scrimmage. While his size will be a bit of a question mark at the next level, he’s basically a skill player in the body of a defensive tackle. Reminds me a lot of current Texas defensive tackle Desmond Jackson, except that Oliver is even more explosive as an athlete at the same stage
Jones might not have the raw athleticism and frame that Deontay Anderson possesses and perhaps he doesn’t have the pure sideline to sideline explosiveness that Eric Monroe brings to the field, but when it comes to being a combo safety that can play the hell out of the position, I’m not sure that there’s anyone better in the state, especially when it comes to playing in the box and making plays a run supporter, as Jones seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to involving himself in the action. HIs cover skills are still a work in progress and I’m not sure that he’ll be a guy that you turn loose as a defender in the slot, but he displays a lot of range in coverage and is a guy that I would describe as an all-around quality safety. Still, there’s no question that what makes him special is his level of activity on the field, especially against the run.
At 6-5, 330 pounds, Hudson is a mountain of a prospect that reminds me of former Texas All-American Mike Williams at the same stage. A mauler in the running game that has the ability to move the line of scrimmage, Hudson looks like the kind of guy that can play early at the next level as an interior player. As he continues to develop his frame in the coming years, he’ll add even more strength in his legs and hips, which will give him a chance to be a devastating run blocker at the next level. The question is whether he has the feet, flexibility and overall athleticism to play outside at tackle. Although regarded as the No.1 interior line prospect in the state, I think Hudson flash’s surprising agility and balance for such a big kid. That being said, there are times when he doesn’t get off the ball well and struggles to recover and it’ll remind you why he projects a little easier inside.
Houston, TXAldine Davis
Man, the more I watch of McCulloch, the more I come away thinking that he’s currently underrated and I have the guy ranked as the No.2 interior linebacker in the state. At 6-2, 235 pounds, all of McCulloch’s physical tools feel raw and a little unharnessed, but the kid just ooozes physical upside when you watch him make sideline-to-sideline plays, while also working as a jackhammer between the hash marks. McCulloch’s footwork on the football field are good enough that he seems as comfortable and at ease with traffic in and around his feet as anyone in the in-state top linebacker discussion. While his natural football instincts and skills are strong, his long arms and ability to accelerate suggests that there are pass rush skills inside of him that haven’t yet been tapped into.
Houston, TXNorth Shore
The total package at safety, Monroe projects as an impact player at the next level because of an array of skills that make him the No.1 player at the position in the state in a year when the competition at the top is as fierce as any year I’ve been in the business. At 6-0, 180 pounds, Monroe’s range is second to none among his peers, as he covers the entire field at times in the blink of an eye. Possessing excellent closing skills, Monroe brings physicality at the position that is a little unusual for a guy that still needs a little time to fill out physically. You can play the kid in the box or let him play centerfield on the back end of the defense and he’s going to find the football, get in the action and make something happen. While he possesses very good ball skills, his coverage ability is still a little bit of a question mark, especially compared to the other borderline five-star players that exist at his position this year, which means in the grand scheme of things he might not be as versatile as a few other guys, but what he’s magnificent in the things he does do well.
Trophy Club, TXByron Nelson
From a quick-twitch standpoint, Bowen has exactly what you’re looking for in regards to finding someone with potentially special edge skills, which is why he’s worth his weight in gold, even if he’s still a player that might need a couple of years in the weight room before being able to convert his skill set to high performance at the D1 level. On one hand, the fact that he’s a big wide receiver/skilled athlete playing with his hand on the ground is a positive because it means that he isn’t close to touching his ceiling as a prospect, but it also means that he has a little further to go than you’d prefer. Still, his suddenness and natural playmaking skills are such that it’s hard not to drool a little bit when watching his film. I haven’t said this in a long time, but he kind of reminds me of former Longhorns pass rusher Mike Williams in all the right ways.
Arlington, TXArlington Lamar
The consensus selection as the state's top quarterback prospect, Buechele brings a diverse all-around set of skills to the table, which is what is so exciting about his upside as a player. Although he's not the fastest or best running prospect in the state, his athletic ability is one of the things that separates him from the pack of players who are at least fairly advanced as passers, as his quick feet, balance and overall fluidness as an athlete makes him a threat at all times to take off and run the moment a defense presents him with a running lane. As far as his passing skills are concerned, Buechele throws the ball pretty effortlessly, has a quick release and has the ability to spray the ball all over the field. There are times when you'd like to see him throw the ball with a little more power behind the ball and I'm not sure that he's elite of the elite in any one area (although he's very close in pocket/field awareness), but he rates at near-elite ratings in a lot of categories. Plus, the kid can flat out play some football.
Trophy Club, TXByron Nelson
Diesch isn’t likely going to be a college-ready prospect when he arrives in college, but my goodness, there’s a lot to work for his college coaches to work with in terms of molding a starter-level offensive tackle. The first two things that you notice about him is his size/frame and the fact that he moves pretty well for a big kid. While not a guy that will wow you with his suddenness or quick-twitch muscles, he can get from point A to point B fairly without looking at all clumsy. A two-way threat in high school, what he needs more than anything else is a top-flight weight program, a couple of seasons and some good coaching. If this kid can get a little of those three things, he has the kind of ceiling that can help make him a plus college starting offensive tackle.
|4 stars||6'7"||272||Texas A&M|
Mesquite, TXNorth Mesquite
Although he’s not the physical beast that Greg Little represents in terms of raw power and pure domination at the point of attack, Delance has enough talent in his own right that it wouldn’t shock me if he emerged as the best tackle in this class down the road. What Delance does have at 6-5, 270 pounds is a little more quickness/suddenness/raw athletic ability than almost any top-level line prospect in the country. Delance is very comfortable when put into motion and has a knack for actually getting his body onto defenders at the second and even third levels of the defense. Also, while he still needs to continue to develop the strength in his lower half, he plays a power game and is able to put guys on the ground without having to get his body on top of them. He’s still developing as a pass protector and there are occasions when he gets a little flat-footed, some of which could be related to not sensing where the pressure is coming from. Ironically, his ability to recover after taking false steps is one of the things you end up liking about him because it allows him to flash what he can become when he puts it all together. He might need a year or two to bake in the oven, but this kid has a chance to be an impact college tackle.
McKinney, TXMcKinney North
Add water, instant defensive line contributor. Of all the potential defensive end prospects in the state, Madubuike is the guy that I can see hitting the field and making an impact the quickest. A versatile and disruptive player, there are a ton of elements in his game that stand out considerably when compared to his peer group, both within the state and across the country. His ability to combine great lateral movement with a strong functional power and a solid blend of suddenness off the ball make him a player that can impact a game in a lot of ways. He’s a guy that will take a yard if you give him an inch, which is another way of saying that he is incredibly disruptive as a player along the defensive line. Because he plays inside at the high school level, his play at the point of attack is much further along than most end prospects. Does he have elite-level burst off the edge? No, I don’t know that I would say that, but his overall skill set is such that when you combine it with good burst off the edge, you’ve got a player that can be an impact college performer.
|4 stars||6'3"||265||Texas A&M|
As far as I’m concerned, Duvernay is the most electrifying kid in the entire state. Coaches are always looking for kids that can apply pressure to opposing defenses and Duvernay’s ability to touch the ball at any spot on the field and be a threat to score is second to none among his peers in the state of Texas. At 5-10, 184 pounds, he’s not the biggest receiver prospects in this class by a long-shot, but his ability to make plays in space after the catch makes him a different type of receiver, as he’s usually reaching the end zone if he gets a step beyond the defense. Duvernay is still developing his wide receiver skills, but he’s an ace on screens and short throws near the line of scrimmage. If you’re looking for a player comparison, think of a young Percy Harvin from a talent perspective.
A prospect that brings a little bit of everything to the table, including size, ball skills and the ability to make plays after the catch. Although he’s more of a vertical threat than anything else at the high school level, I think his overall game might be a little underrated because there’s not much at the position that he doesn’t do pretty damn well. Although he might not ever win the combine, Cleveland has a chance to emerge as a top-end college player with a little more development.
Flower Mound, TXMarcus
Smith might just be the most polished and sure-fire college tight end prospect that this state has produced in a long time. That’s not to say that he has the most physical upside, but I can’t remember many kids that came out of high school that seem as natural to the position and instinctive working the middle of the field as a receiver as this kid. At times, he looks like a young high school-version of Jason Witten with the way that he sinks into the soft spots of the zones, works the seam and catches everything that comes his way with flypaper hands. While he doesn’t have blazing speed, he does exhibit quickness in small space, which allows him to separate from defenders with relative ease. Barring injury, this kid’s basement should be as a solid college player, while his ceiling could make him one of the top tight ends in the country down the line.
No cornerback in the state brings the type of overall well-rounded game that Mayden brings to the table. At 6-0, 187 pounds, Mayden brings terrific size to the position and while he might not have elite-level explosiveness, there’s not much that he can’t do on the field, whether it’s playing bump and run on the outside, moving inside to the slot over sliding over to safety and providing playmaking skills in the back-end. Mayden really is very polished at his position at this stage of his development, which means that he’ll probably be able to play pretty early once he gets to college. A terrific open-field tackler, Mayden’s versatility is another aspect of his game that makes him incredibly valuable, especially when looking at this year’s in-state cornerback list. He’s a fighter, he cares about football and he’s a natural on an island.
Debut ranking: NR
See Wallace. Hurts is hell on wheels with the ball in his hands, but some scouts view him as more of an athlete than quarterback, but once again I don't think the OB staff sees it that way at all. He'll need a little seasoning, but the arm skills are there, even if the footwork and some of his mechanics need to be refined.
Port Arthur, TXPort Arthur Memorial
When you talk about Martin, you’re talking about the best running back to come out of Port Arthur since Jamaal Charles more than a decade ago. Although he has similar size to Whaley and they have some similar traits, it would be wrong to chalk them up as being similar runners. Whereas Whaley is very much a north/south/one-cut and go back, Martin is a little more of a fast-paced ball of spinning butcher knifes, as he takes contact and dishes it out more than you’d ever expect from a 5-10, 175-pound back. Like Whaley, Martin has the ability to score from anywhere on the field and that level of playmaking makes him
one of the special offensive prospects in this class.
More than any running back in the state, just give this kid the ball and get the hell out of the way. The ultimate weapon in college football is the one that can touch the ball anywhere on the field and be a threat to take it to the house on every touch, which is exactly what Whaley brings to the table. With perhaps the best feet of any back in the state, Whaley’s ability to dart in and out of daylight, combined with his top-end burst that seems to come straight out of Madden makes him one of the top offensive playmakers in Texas. A downhill runner, there’s very little wasted motion from Whaley, as he hits the hole quickly and usually explodes through it in the blink of an eye once he makes his decision. This kid has a chance to be a real difference-maker at the high collegiate level.
Hell, you can make a case that there’s not a better pure football player at the position this year at the high school level than Chambers, who really is a ball of sharp kitchen knives on the field. Chambers is always coming forward, always challenging opposing offenses with his raw athletic gifts and always threatening to make a big-play in the backfield or down the line of scrimmage. The slight knock on Chambers is that he doesn’t quite have the athletic top-end upside of a guy like Brandon Bowen and doesn’t come in the physical package of a Justin Madubuike, which is another way of saying that he’s a bit of a tweener. That being said, I don’t think he’s a player that is gone growing and filling out, so those concerns might become moot by the time he arrives on a college campus. If his frame grows and develops a little more in the next year, he could end up being No.1 on this list.
Houston, TXLangham Creek
Debut ranking: NR
|4 stars||6'1"||181||Texas A&M|
The state’s stop pure interior linebacker prospect, Jackson provides a near-perfect blend of size and athleticism at the position. Quick feet, good lateral mobility, a quality closing burst… Jackson possesses a number of qualities that make him a very athletic inside player, even if he’s straight-ahead top-end speed won’t win a ton of races. Mix in the fact that Jackson brings an incredibly strong physical presence that should convert very nicely at the next level and you’ve got a player that some favor as the top pure linebacker in the state. When I see Jackson play, I don’t see a player that has reached his ceiling, I see a guy that still has a couple of flights of stairs to climb before he gets there, which is a huge piece of the puzzle in recruiting.
|4 stars||6'2"||238||Florida St.|
A born playmaker. Perhaps more than any player in the state at his position, Dickson’s ability to do a little bit of everything at his position makes him perhaps the most complete player at the position coming out of high school. Although I don’t think of him as an elite speed and quickness guy, he’s not far off from that kind of territory and when he gets his hands on the ball in space, watch the hell out. Possesses top-end ball skills. One of my favorite aspects of his game is that you can watch seven minutes of Dickson at his best and you might not see any plays that look repetitive. He makes a lot of plays in a variety of plays and just knows how to get the damn job done.
Waco, TXLa Vega
One of my favorite players in the state because Cobb is a football-playing sonofagun that plays like his uniform is on fire, regardless of where he’s playing on the field. As a cornerback, Cobb possesses the physical tools needed to thrive in bump and run coverage, as he turns his hips and runs with ease, while also displaying extremely closing skills once he explodes out of his break. On top of all of that, he’s also one of the top return men in the state and all you have to do is let him touch the ball from any spot on the field and he’ll scare the hell out of the other team. He’s a little raw and needs to be coached up a little on the defensive side of the ball, but this kid is a flat-out playmaker.
Although he doesn't rank anywhere close to Buechele as an athlete, I view Smith as the best pure thrower/pro-style passer in the state. With his size and arm strength, Smith is a natural while working inside the pocket, displaying touch and accuracy when throwing to all parts of the field. It's easy to see this kid being a thrown for Big 12 defenses in a few years under the watchful eye of Art Briles.
Debut ranking: 79
|4 stars||6'2"||200||Oregon St.|
If Devin Duvernay is the king of the short passing game at the receiver position, Lark might be the king of the intermediate passing game in Texas. The first thing that really jumps out about Lark is the fact that his ball skills are as elite as anyone in this class. When the ball is in his zip code, he almost always finds a way to come up with the catch. While not quite as explosive as Duverney, Lark has a turbo button gear that allows him to apply pressure on opposing defenses after the catch. Lark seems like he’s at his best when running skinny or deep posts, but don’t mistake that as him having a limited arsenal. This is a kid that has a chance to be a dynamic college playmaker.
When I look at Anderson, I see a slightly bigger version of Courtney Lark, but perhaps without the turbo button that makes him impossible to corral once he gets a step on the defense. Like Lark, Anderson has some of the best ball skills in the state, especially when being targeted in the deep passing game. A lot of Anderson’s success at the high school level is based on his ability to win battles when running go-routes and he’ll probably need to continue to diversify his game is he wants to be an all-around threat at the position. Does a great job of setting up fade routes with a quick, hard inside step that he comes out of incredibly quick, making him a big-time threat in the red-zone.
Houston, TXC. E. King
He’s a little small and probably won’t wow anyone with his testing numbers at a combine, but when you put Williams in a football uniform, a an all-purpose playmaker emerges. A two-way threat out of the backfield that can contribute in the run and passing games, Williams relies on his ability to accelerate and separate through traffic once he picks his moment to “go”. Once he gets into the second- and third-levels of the defense, he’s not going to outrun many top-level college defensive backs, but he can be described as very slippery, as defenders simply have a hard time getting their hands around him.
|4 stars||5'9"||188||Texas A&M|
Richmond, TXGeorge Ranch High School
Every time I watch Anderson, I come away liking him a little more than the last time. While he might not quite have the ultra-weapon athletic tools that a few of the other backs in the state possess, we’re splitting hairs a little because Anderson has the ability to stop, start and explode with almost anyone and his ability to break defenders down in space makes him potentially an awesome multi-purpose weapon. If anything, Anderson might not have elite top-end speed, but it’s easy to overlook that because of his quickness out of his breaks and the fact that he’s just a damn good football player that makes a ton of plays and loves to play the game. If you’re asking me who he reminds me of, perhaps a slightly bigger Fozzy Whittaker
Debut ranking: NR
In all the years I’ve been watching high school football prospects, Jones ranks as one of the freakiest athletes I’ve ever seen, and honestly, only former Longhorns offensive tackle Leonard Davis tops him in terms of the rare physical foundation he has to work with. Just like Davis, who was recruited as a defensive lineman, it’s quite possible that Jones’ future is on the other side of the ball, but with a little bit of development and coaching, there’s no reason Jones can’t be an impact player on the defensive side of the ball as well. It doesn’t always show on a play-by-play basis, but when he’s at his best, Jones can be quick off the ball and a playmaker in the offensive backfield. Needs to continue to do a better job of playing with better pad level, but it’s tough to sell a 6-5, 360-pound lineman on the details at the high school level because his natural ability will allow him to dominate most opposing players when his motor is high. Frankly, I don’t worry too much about what he isn’t right now because I’m much more focused on what he can become with a little fine-tuning. The bottom line is that the human populace doesn’t produce many freaks of nature like this on a regular basis.
While Rodney Anderson has been the back that has stirred the drink for Katy the last couple of years, POrter has served as its big-play weapon and it’s possible that with Anderson off to Oklahoma this season, we’ll finally get a chance to see what Porter can do as the main guy in the backfield. What we do know about Porter is that he brings big-time playmaking ability to the field and a ton of versatility, which should allow him to be a major college weapon as a runner, receiver and return man on special teams. There are some that have wondered whether he was as good as a junior as he was as a sophomore when he took the Houston-area by storm, and I’ll admit that I go back and forth a little when it comes to just how much I like Porter, but there’s no mistaking that he’s a big-time prospect, it’s just a matter of how big-time.
Let’s start off with the acknowledgment that I currently have Elliott ranked too low and that he’ll move into the four-star/Top 25-50 range when the next rankings update is made. At 6-5, 300 pounds, Elliott moves around like a big cat on the field, as he possesses plus-athleticism, which includes better lateral agility and quicker feet than the majority of his peers. Although you don’t always see it off the ball, Elliott does show flashes of burst and acceleration, especially when he’s making a move towards the ball in the backfield. Needs to continue to develop his strength and play at the point of attack, but his quickness as a big man is really notable. Elliott ranks as perhaps the most versatile interior line prospect in the state, as he could play as a three- or five-technique at the next level.
In a lot of ways, Daniels is the prototype for the new-age defensive tackle, as he brings the size, raw athleticism and strong play on the field that every team in the nation covets from the defensive tackle position. Although he’s not quite as explosive as Ed Oliver, Daniels is a plus-athlete than can play multiple positions, while making plays up and down the line of scrimmage. Has strong hands, a powerful punch and he does a good job at the point of attack, even though he does play a little too high at times. Needs a little more technique work because he likes to stand tall to read plays in an effort to get involved the play, but that’s all correctable stuff and once it is, Daniels has all of the tools needed to be an impact college performer.
My goodness, is this kid is so quick off the edge that it’ll jump out at you within seconds of watching him play. HIs quick-twitch upside makes him a potential nightmare off the edge as a pass rusher, which is the reason why so many schools are interested in the 6-3, 215-pound Jackson. He’s potentially a special edge guy, but there’s no getting around the fact that he’s an undersized player that is going to need to develop a little more physically before he’s a real option as a down lineman at the college level. It’ll take some time before he’s ready to take on all aspects of playing defensive end, but if he can harness his strengths and commits himself to the weight room, he can be an elite college pass-rusher.
While Boyd might not quite bring the score-from-anywhere-on-the-field explosiveness that you’ll see in Devwah Whaley and Kam Martin, you’ll find a little more size, incredible balance and tool-bag with a lot very good tools, if not any elite ones. While he possesses a good speed/quickness combination for a near 200-pound back, the thing that really separates Boyd from a lot of his peers is his ability to take hits around his legs and not go down. Like so many of the greats, Boyd just seems to shake off contact at will and once he finds his way into the second level of the defense, he becomes a handful for the defense very quickly. He’s kind of a glider once he builds up speed and he runs a little high, but he’s the kind of back that have success in almost any kind of offense.
|4 stars||6'0"||195||Texas A&M|
If Jared Mayden is the state’s most polished and steady of the cornerback prospects in this class, Fuller probably represents a prospect package that arrives a little rawer and needs a little more development, but there’s a level of explosiveness and athleticism in his uniform that might be without peer. Although he still needs to develop some physically, possesses top-end play-making skills and aggressiveness to make plays. In fact, he’s such a playmaker with the ball in his hands that it will be tempting to play him on offense at the next level.
|3 stars||5'11"||160||Texas A&M|
He might not be as college-ready for the position as Kaden Smith, but my goodness, good luck trying to find a kid with his size, athleticism and playmaking ability because this kid can absolutely put pressure on a defense. He’s more of a basketball player in terms of his physicality at this point, so there’s a lot of projecting taking place, but he’s every bit of 6-4 or 6-5 and once he starts to add some size to his frame, he has Jace Amaro-like upside as a receiving target. Every time I watch him, I like him more and more. Quite frankly, his upside suggests that he needs to be moved up in the rankings.
Fort Worth, TXAll Saints Episcopal
There’s no other-worldly about the physical skill level of the 6-2, 300-pound Williams, but there’s very little on the field that he doesn’t do very well, which is why he ranks as one of the top players at his position in the state. In addition to playing with a high motor, Williams is a disruptive player that does a really good job of getting off of blocks, locating the football and then making something happen once he gets there. Williams plays with much better natural pad level than some of the other top prospects at the position and it allows him to control offensive linemen at the point of attack with his hands, so that he can create disengagement. A solid athlete that will often make more athletic plays than you’d think would be possible from someone in a fire hydrant frame, Williams looks like a guy that will develop into a terrific nose-tackle at the next level once he develops in the strength department a little more.
In a year where a lot of the backs in the state don’t bring much size to the table, Olonilua represents the best “big” back in the state with a terrific blend of size and athleticism. There’s not a lot flashy about what Olonilua does on the field as he’s a north/south runner that gets from point A to point B in a straight line and if you attempt to hit him high, he might run through you and if you attempt to hit him high, he might run through you. Although he’s not an ultra-quick, fast-twitch athlete, he possesses good top-end speed and is more than a grinder. If you want a comparison, think recent TCU running back Matthew Tucker, and just like Tucker, there’s some thought at this point in his development that he might be better on the other side of the ball from a long-term standpoint.
Flower Mound, TXMarcus
Debut ranking: NR
Debut ranking: NR
Rivals and I aren't currently seeing eye to eye on this one at all, but I dare anyone to watch him at his best and tell me that his ceiling isn't on the same level as the other top quarterbacks in the state, at least. Yes, he's raw and started a little slow at the beginning of last season, but the kid oozes natural ability. In fact, if you just look at his top-end highlights, you'll see a guy that might even jump off the screen in the throwing department more than Buechele and Smith. Add in his athleticism and if he fine-tune his game, he has a chance to be a bad boy at the next level.
|3 stars||6'3"||200||Arizona St.|
|#47||Moses Reynolds||WR||San Antonio, TXJohn Jay||3 stars||6'2"||185||Texas A&M|
Debut ranking: NR
|3 stars||6'3"||220||Texas A&M|
Once you get beyond the big three in-state safeties, the next best available prospect on the boat the position is Jones, who won’t wow you with a ton of elite-level athleticism, but still ranks as perhaps the second-best in-the-box safety in the state. Despite not standing out from the pack from a physical standpoint, Jones plays a physical brand of football all of the field. Jones has flashed ability in coverage, but that’s an area of his game that still needs a little developing, as he doesn’t always look comfortable in press situations, although he does possess pretty good recovery skills.
Boyd isn’t a guy that’s going to wow you with his physical tools because he’s a little undersized and ranks as a plus-athlete, but probably not as an elite one. Still, there’s a natural playmaking skill inside of the kid on both sides of the ball, that it’s probably easy to underrate his athleticism because the bottom line is that on the football field, the kid makes a hell of a lot of plays no matter where he’s playing. Although he’s going to need a little time to develop, Boyd can make plays sideline-to-sideline and he has a natural nose for the ball that will serve him well. He’s kind of the quintassential four-star player/three-star athlete, but a lot of those guys ended up having hellacious careers because that ability to play football part matters more than anything.
Arlington, TXArlington Lamar
When you watch Owens, you’ll see that there’s not really a lot of finesse in his game, as his motto on the field seems to be more seek and destroy than dance and prance. Although he plays a little too high at times (and part of that might have to do with him playing tackle for Lamar), he’s able to maul and get players off-balance and on the ground, even when his pad level isn’t where you’d like it to be, which says a lot about his raw strength as a prospect. At the high school level, once he gets on an opponent, it’s usually over for the opponent on that play. Owens has good feet, but not great, which means that when he’s asked to play on the move, he can be a little inconsistent in getting to the second-level and getting his pads on a free defender. As he continues to add mass to his frame, he has the frame to add more mass and evolve into a punishing interior prospect after a few seasons of development.
Debut ranking: NR
|#53||Adewale Omotosho||WR||Plano, TXPlano East||3 stars||6'3"||190||UCLA|
Wichita Falls, TXRider
No receiver in the state brings more size to the table that the 6-5 Vasher, who just dominated defensive backs in the vertical passing game with his combination of mass and skill. Although he’s at his best when he’s going down the field as a receiver, Vasher actually brings more of an all-around skill set as a player than you might expect from a player that specializes in going vertical, as he possesses enough athletic ability and shiftiness to give defenses fits in the screen game, while his route running and ball skills make for a dangerous intermediate playmaker. Although he’s a little raw, Vasher’s upside at the position is among the highest of any player in this class.
|4 stars||6'5"||180||Texas Tech|
Debut ranking: NR
Physically, he'll remind you a little of a young Jameis Winston, but he's a much better athlete than Winston ever thought about being. As a running threat, he's hell on wheels, especially with the zone-read concepts. As the state's No.1 running weapon at the position, Wallace simply needs to work on his passing skills night and day because it's the area that needs the most work and it's the reason why some scouts view him as an athlete more than quarterback. However, Wallace has the skills needed to succeed as a passer, they just aren't yet refined. He'll need time to develop, but the entire OB staff loves his upside.
Cuffee doesn’t have the complete set of physical tools that Jared Mayden might possess or the raw explosiveness that Travis Fuller brings to the table, but he might very well be the best bump and run corner guy in the entire state. Like all the great Waco High defensive backs before him, Cuffee is as aggressive at the position as the rules allow, as he seems to prefer being able to line right across from his opponent and engage in physical play. Cuffee’s got a smooth and easy backpedal, good ball skills and plus-breaking on the ball quickness. Just like with Mayden, there’s zero reason to believe that Cuffee won’t be able to come in and make an immediate impact.
Debut ranking: NR
|3 stars||6'2"||185||Texas A&M|
There might not be as much “wow” with Hemphill as there are with some of the other receivers at the top of the list, but it’s easy to take Hemphill for credit sometimes because he makes playing the game look very easy at times. A terrific all-around receiver with a skill set that allows him to make plays in a variety of plays. At the high school level, Hemphill’s strength at the position might be his greatest asset, as he just kind of bullies opposing cornerbacks all over the field, whether it’s on a hitch, post route or something vertical. Owns plus-ball skills and he’ll fight for his quarterback on balls that aren’t thrown perfectly.
Missouri City, TXElkins
There’s not a lot of fanciness to the skill set of the 6-5, 305-pound lineman, who I believe is one of the more underrated prospects in the entire state when you consider the size and raw ability. At his best, Blacklock’s is a hard-charger who can move his big body in a way that causes mass destruction when he’s able to get into the middle of the action. One of Blacklock’s biggest problems at the high school level is that he doesn’t always play with good pad level and against good offensive lineman, it renders him to a spectator role, but when he plays with good pad level and is able to create penetration, he has the ability to become an impact player that opposing offensive linemen really struggle with. Blacklock is incredibly raw and is going to need some time to develop, but you can’t fake his mass and raw power.
Copperas Cove, TXCopperas Cove
At 6-6, 293 pounds, all you have to do is see a little bit of Urquidez in person to understand exactly what it is that college coaches like about him because he definitely passes the eyeball test. Yet, I’m not sure that I’m seeing a player on the field that matches the expectations that are easy to create when you see the kind of size/frame he brings to the table. While he’s a good athlete, I don’t know that his level of athleticism matches what the top players in a power conference on the defensive side of the ball will bring to the table. While he’s slated as a potential tackle at the next level, I could also see him playing inside when it’s all said and done. He plays hard and his effort is one of the things that gives you a lot of hope that he’ll work to reach his ceiling as a player, as football matters to him. Needs some time in the weight room and might take two or three years before the light switch finally flips on for good.
Dallas, TXSouth Oak Cliff
I’ll be the first to admit that Terry is a bit of a classic tweener between linebacker and defensive end, but it you can look into unconventional things and find beauty in them, you’re going to really like this kid. Perhaps the aspect of his skill that stands out the most is his footwork, as he’s able to bounce around on his feet in a way that is foreign to most defensive linemen and once he finds a path to the ball, his acceleration and closing skills take over in a top-end way. More than looking like a kid that belongs in a specific position and role, I view Terry pure football player that can play a variety of roles once he’s able to harness his abilities. We’re talking about a guy that possesses playmaking skills as a pass-rusher and as a player in space. Football matters to this kid and you can see it with the urgency he plays with on the field.
|#63||Innis Gaines||DB||Beaumont, TXWest Brook||3 stars||6'2"||190||TCU|
Humble, TXSummer Creek
I think Holcombe is one of the state’s most underrated prospects heading into the spring evaluation process. At 6-5, 215 pounds, Holcombe flashes playmaking ability as a receiver that will give opposing college coaches fits as a guy running vertically down the seam. While he’s a good athlete and has good hands, he’s not a guy that I would call explosive or quick-twitched as an athlete. Holcombe still looks a little raw as a player and might need a season or two of seasoning and he’s not as aggressive as a blocker as you’d hope to see on a consistent basis, but his raw ability gives him a chance to be an impact college player down the road.
Debut ranking: NR
I’ll tell you what, the more I watch of this kid, the more I think he might actually be the No.3 tackle prospect in the state. An incredibly bright kid that absolutely gets after it on the football field. There’s an urgency that he plays with that is very hard to teach and my guess is that his opponents are glad when he’s beyond them on the schedule. At a listed 6-4, 290 pounds, Anderson doesn’t have the massive frame that you’d prefer to see in your tackles of the future, but he’s a good athlete, has quick feet and plays with power. Plus, he plays the game pissed off. Yup, I think I just talked myself into moving him up the rankings in the next update.
|4 stars||6'4"||290||Texas A&M|
Pound-for-pound and inch-for-inch, there’s not a better player among offensive lineman in the entire state. I’m of the opinion that Henderson is just a monster on the field that can do more than anyone else you want to bring up in the state. The issue is whether you are comfortable with a 6-1, 271-pound lineman working on your college offensive line and I’ll admit that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Still, I view the kid as a center (not tackle like he plays in HS) and you’re damn right I’d take a chance on this kid when you consider his athleticism, ability to get to the second- and third-level and a level of nastiness that ranks as high as anyone in the state. Every time I watch the kid, I love him more and more. That being said, I can’t change the fact that he’s a smaller prospect, but I’d suggest he might just be a special smaller prospect.
|3 stars||6'2"||240||Texas Tech|
At 6-3, 200 pounds, Williams, reminds me physically of a young John Harris, which is to say that there’s a fair amount of athletic ability and playmaking in that big frame of his that projects really well at the next level. Doesn’t have elite top-end speed or burst, but once he gets the moving with the ball he becomes a handful for opposing defenses who are trying to get him to the ground. Williams is really effective in the screen game, as he’ll run through arm tackles and once he gets through the second level of the defense, there’s enough overall athletic skill to create game-changing plays. Although he’s a still putting the pieces of his game together, Williams has a chance to be a playmaker at the collegiate level with a little more development.
There’s a little bit of a young Blaine Irby in side of this kid when you watch him make plays at running back, split out wide or inside off the line. While he has the athletic skill needed to make plays in the passing game as an H-back, Chalk likes to get down and dirty as a blocker, which gives me hopes that he won’t be a guy that only comes into the game to catch passes. His ball skills are sharp and his versatility as an all-around player could make him a short-yardage fullback as well.
Debut ranking: NR
|3 stars||6'1"||169||Oklahoma St.|
Tyler, TXTyler Lee
Debut ranking: NR
|3 stars||5'11"||170||S.F. Austin|
Debut ranking: 70
With Somerville, we’re talking about the classic case of a four-star player wrapped inside of a three-star set of physical tools. At 5-9, 169 pounds, Somerville doesn’t possess ideal size at the cornerback position, but he has some junkyard dog inside of him and there’s no question that he owns a lot of natural cornerback skills that you’re looking for when you put a guy on an island. One of the areas that he needs to improve before he gets to the next level is the ability to turn and find the football because there are a lot of times when he does everything perfect, except for that. However, he’ll fight, claw and scratch you to death in the name of competition and he overcomes the size issues with exactly the type of want-to you’re looking for on the defensive side of the ball.
Another quick-twitch, ultra-athletic undersized edge player that has a chance to develop into a high-end college player with a few years of physical development. One of the things that also stands out about Onwuzurike is the level of physicality that he plays for a guy whose strength upside is still a ways away from being realized. Like the other tweeners in the top five, Onwuzurike’s upside is like a powerball ticket, but there’s always a slightly greater risk when investing in someone who might be caught in between linebacker size and defensive end skills. Still, the playmaker inside of this kid suggests that a couple of years of development, he could be hell on wheels off the edge for almost anyone in the nation.
Debut ranking: NR
In a year where home-run hitters are seemingly all over the place, Stephens brings a little more size and all-around game to the table at the running back position. Although I wouldn’t describe him as having elite-level burst or speed, Stephens possesses outstanding feet and balance as a runner, which allows him to break down defenders when in one-on-one situations and makes him a handful to get on the ground.
Debut ranking: NR
Debut ranking: NR
Mesquite, TXWest Mesquite
Debut ranking: NR
|3 stars||6'4"||220||Fresno St.|
Beaumont, TXWest Brook
Debut ranking: 50
Debut ranking: NR
While so many of the state’s top linebackers this year are tweeners towards the defensive end position, Carmouche is probably the best in the state when we’re talking about tweeners towards the safety position, as three-down versatility is the name of his game. We’re talking about a guy that plays comfortable whether he’s inside the box or playing in pass coverage without safety support. A strong open-field tackler, Carmouche is probably as technically sound as any of the five or six linebackers in the state, as his game always feels clean and polished, which is a credit to his athletic versatility because he makes being able to do everything that he does on the field look effortless. He might not have the athletic ceiling that some of his peers possess, but there’s no one else in the state quite like him.
McAllen, TXMcAllen Memorial
In the year of the Mighty Mouse running backs, Speights is yet another one of these compact players that relies on quickness and raw explosiveness to achieve success and while he doesn’t own elite-level scores in either of those two categories, he has enough of both that he’s emerged as one of the top prospects to come out of South Texas in years. Speaking of South Texas, it’s also somewhat impossible to ignore that his competition is less than stellar and at times it’s hard to tell how good he really is because of the kids that he’s playing against. At the end of the day, the skill set is very good and his success as a player suggests that he’s a player that no one should sleep on.
Another quintessential four-star player/three-star athlete, Arnold is worth the price of admission to any game he plays in, as his skills as a playmaker in all-three phases of the game will bring you out of your seat. An undersized guy that might not quite reach the 5-10 height he’s listed as, there’s no question that Arnold has all of the natural skill you’re looking for in cornerback prospect, it’s just not going to arrive in the perfect physical package. Arnold kind of reminds me of Quandre Diggs, but without the bruising style of play.
Wilder is a guy that probably ranks as a four-star level high school player that brings three-star physical tools to the table, which is why when you add it all up, he ranks as a mid-level three-star prospect in mind. In fact, what makes him stand out is that he does everything pretty well, even if he might not do anything at an elite level, which means that he’s an active player that tackles well, shows good closing ability against the run and in coverage and he has a level of playmaking skill. What you’re not going to get with Wilder are a lot of moment that make you stop watching the film because he wowed you with his physical talent in the middle of it.
Arlington, TXArlington Lamar
Because he plays with the state’s top quarterback prospect, it’s easy to sometimes chalk up someone of Boateng’s success to playing with Shane Buechele, but the more I’ve watched of this kid, the more it’s impossible not to notice a terrific blend of overall playmaking ability. Although he’s not a top-end burner, he makes a lot of plays on end arounds and short screens, displaying ability to make people miss in space and “good enough” speed to take it to the house once he gets a step on the defense. Boateng also has some of the nicest hands at his position in the state and shows the ability to create separation from defenders.
Roy is a big-time five-technique trapped inside of the body of a future nose-tackle. At the high school level, it’s not a big deal that he’s playing an outside technique that probably isn’t projectable at the next level because he’s just a handful for opposing linemen because of his athleticism, high motor and nose for the football. Once he arrives in college, expect him to move much closer to the ball and it’ll be interesting to see how his game matures once he’s asked to commit to the responsibilities of a true interior player. Still, all of those things that make him such a quality high school player give you hope that he will eventually develop into an impact nose-tackle. More than any big man in the state, Roy does not like to be blocked at all, whether it’s by one opposing lineman or two. His thirst to beat whatever comes his way is a trait that will serve him well at the next level.
Missouri City, TXHightower
Point blank… this is one of the most underrated and underappreciated prospects in the Lone Star State and stop if you’ve heard this before when looking at the breakdowns at the position, but Johnson is another classic tweener, but unlike some others on the list I really believe that Johnson has the versatility and skill set to play a couple of different positions inside the front seven. An ultra-quick player off the ball, Johnson’s ability to pursue the ball and track ball carriers down the line of scrimmage is as good as anyone at the position in the entire state. Johnson’s top-shelf lateral movement is one of the reasons I believe he has a chance to stick as a college linebacker because his ability to turn his hips and make athletic transitions on the fly is on a different level than a lot of kids. Throw in the fact that he plays with a huge sense of urgency and isn’t afraid to throw his body into a wall, and you’ll eventually see why I think this kid is eventually going to explode as a prospect
You can always count on Gary Patterson finding a guy or two out on the recruiting trail each year and Marshall is one of those guys. At 6-3, 250 pounds, Marshall isn’t the quickest guy off the edge, but he’s extremely physical and he has enough raw athletic ability that he can develop into a guy that can get to the quarterback with some quality coaching/development. On top of that, there’s a very good chance that Marshall’s size, athletic skill and versatility will eventually put him on the other side of the ball at tight end, a position he’s already showing flashes of brilliance with. Again, there’s nothing about his suddenness that will jump out at you, but the kid is a tough as nails player that makes a lot of athletic plays.
|#91||Zach Shackelford||OL||Belton, TXBelton||3 stars||6'4"||295||Texas|
San Angelo, TXCentral H S
One of my favorite 5.7-rated prospects in the state and a potential steal for TCU, as Wooten might not dazzle you with his physical tools, but the kid is a playmaker that has a very good feel for the passing game. If I have a concern about Wooten, it's whether he's already closer to his ceiling as a player than some of the others on the list.
Ward can be kind of a hard guy to evaluate because some of his brightest moments of the season watched him run long distances through holes that you could have driven a Mack Truck through. While he has good speed and quickness, he doesn’t have the blend of raw explosiveness that ranks with the nations elite backs. However, he can make guys miss in a phone booth and clearly has big play ability. The thing I like about Ward the most is that he’s a decisive runner that runs with very little wasted movement. When he sees the hole, Ward hits it and doesn’t try to Hollywood a play that doesn’t need it.
|3 stars||5'10"||185||Texas Tech|
A quality three-star prospect that doesn't have any one thing about his game that jumps out at you, but does a lot of everything pretty damn well. A lefty with quick enough feet to move around the pocket with ease, Sells is simply a good football player that projects as a quality college player in the right system and development.
Murphy is another guy that isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea because of his size, but there’s no question that’s a really good football player inside of that 6-2, 295-pound lineman. As a potential interior lineman at the next level, Murphy brings a little bit of everything you’re looking for at the next level (except height), as he possesses above-average footwork and mobility, his play as a power-player is a plus and he does one of the best jobs of any line prospect in the state at finishing plays through the whistle. If he were two inches taller, he’d rank as a certain four-star prospect and probably in the 25-40 range of the rankings.
One of my favorite things about Myers is that I feel with a lot of certainty that this kid hasn’t played his best brand of football and with his size and raw athleticism, there’s a plus-college player inside this kid if the right combination of coaches on the field and coaches in the weight room can pull the best out of him. What he shows right now on the field are flashes of plus-athleticism that allows him to show pass-pro skills and the ability to get to the second and third levels as a run blocker. Doesn’t have the strength in his lower body that he’ll eventually need, but he’s probably a two- or three-year developmental project, so he has plenty of time to develop the strength he needs.
Houston, TXNorth Shore
Raw and athletic, it’s as simple as that. Long is a complete work in progress because he’s spent so much time on the offensive side of the ball making plays at quarterback, but most see his long-term upside on the defensive side of the ball. It’s going to take some time for it all to come together on the defensive side of the ball, but the bottom line is that he possesses all of the athletic upside and potential playmaking skills that a guy like DeMarco Cobbs possessed when he came out of high school half a decade ago.
Plano, TXPrestonwood Christian Academy
My first thought when watching Williams is that he looks exactly like the type of player that TCU has had a lot of success with in recent years. At 6-2, 212 pounds, there’s absolutely nothing special about his frame or physical upside, but man when you put this kid in a football uniform, it always looks like he’s playing with a turbo button that no one else on the field possesses. Everything about his game is being able to play and make plays in space with his plus-acceleration and closing skills. When Williams is at his best, he’s a football-playing-missile that is capable of creating game-changing skills. Overall, I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the state and needs to start being discussed in four-star terms.
Houston, TXAlief Taylor
One of the top emerging talents at his position in the state, Franklin brings much-wanted size and an abundance of playmaking skills to the table, but he still needs a little refining before he’s ready to compete for major playing time at the major college level. At times, Franklin’s reaction skills are a half-tick behind and he’ll struggle in bump and run because he’ll let an opposing receiver get off the line of scrimmage too easily, but he possesses good recovery speed and his balls skills and ability to make plays when the ball is in his zip code rank among the best in the state. Overall, Franklin might have a higher ceiling than some of the cornerbacks ranked ahead of him, but he has four-star physical tools and an emerging four-star level game.
|#100||DaMarcus Fields||DB||Taylor, TXTaylor||3 stars||6'1"||180||Texas Tech|